Norris and Piastri reflect on disastrous double Q3 lap deletions in Qatar qualifying
A spate of crucial lap deletions for McLaren’s Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri in Q3 of qualifying for the Qatar Grand Prix will see the pair start P10 and P6 respectively on Sunday – with the duo having set laps good enough for the front two rows on the grid before the deletions kicked in.
Fresh from their double podium in Japan, the McLarens appeared to have the second fastest car under the lights at Lusail – behind the Red Bull of Max Verstappen, who claimed his 10th pole of the season.
But come the final part of qualifying, Norris had two laps good enough for P2 on the grid deleted, which briefly bumped Piastri up to P3 behind Verstappen and George Russell – only for the Australian to lose his fastest lap too, leaving him P6 on the grid, with Norris officially failing to set a lap time in Q3.
Asked how he was feeling after qualifying, Norris replied: “P***ed off… I just had a correction on oversteer [on my final lap] and I went off.
“[The pace has] been mint, the team have done a good job, but I just messed it up.”
Pushed on whether he was at least assured because of the pace in the car, Norris replied: “I know but I don’t think like that; I just think of the job I’m meant to do, which is put in good laps and not make mistakes, and that’s all I did today, so not a good day for me.”
Piastri, meanwhile, reflected on his own Q3 lap deletion, saying: “Obviously a shame... I just pushed a little bit hard on the last lap. A shame because the car looked quick.
“We obviously get another crack at it tomorrow in [the Sprint Shootout] and then the Sprint too, so we’ll see what we can do. It’s very tight and it’s so easy to make mistakes. The track’s very slippery too, so not making things easy for us. But we’ll try again obviously.
“It’s a shame that we’re a bit further back now for the main race where the most points are, but there’s definitely points up for grabs tomorrow.”
As Piastri mentioned, the McLaren pair will now gear up for Saturday’s Sprint action – the Sprint Shootout followed by the Sprint itself – ahead of Sunday’s Qatar Grand Prix showcase, as they look to chase down Aston Martin for P4 in the constructors’, McLaren just 49 points adrift after their recent run of form.